Oni Masturi (Ogre Festival)

The neat thing about small towns, is that each one comes with their own set of festivals and traditions. We were lucky enough that one of these festivals overlapped with one of precious our days off, so we got the chance to experience it!

And of course, since we seem to be a walking spectacle, we became the unintentional center of attention during this festival.

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What I learned in preschool: Forks are Overrated

How old were you when you first learned how to use chopsticks?

But the real kind, not the cheater kind that have the ends tied together. The kind where you can hold one in each hand and stab the food — which I’ve since learned is a big no no. I think I was somewhere in the mid-teens range. (Did I guess right Dad?) And then even after learning, I hardly used them on a daily basis. Maybe they got used when we had Chinese take out at home or when we went out to Asian restaurants. But even then, forks were always on the table as a viable second option.

Its different here.

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What I learned in Preschool: accidents happen

Or more precisely, shit happens.

Excuse the profanity, but last week was a three day week that started with plenty of excitement (and not the good, fun kind.)

Monday morning, I’m told I have a trial student coming in for the first few hours of the day to test out how she reacts to being in an English speaking environment. This little girl’s father will be in Toyohashi for the next two years on a contract for work and it will be her first time in Japan for an extended amount of time (I can relate.) She was a cute little thing though, quiet and followed the crowd of my tiny hurricanes around the room. She was visibly disoriented though, but who wouldn’t be when you’re freshly transplanted from Vietnam and don’t speak a lick of English or Japanese?

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Discovering Mugicha

No it’s not a place.

During one of my private English lessons, I was talking with my student, playing a get to know you game since he is new and I asked a question about tea. Specifically, what’s your favorite tea? 

He looked at me, clearly thinking hard about it, but said “I don’t know.” I tried asking again, rephrasing it and asking a silly question, thinking he was just nervous. Finally he responded saying that he had a favorite, but didn’t know what it was called in English. I told him that was okay, tell me in Japanese.

“Mugicha.” 

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What I learned in preschool: How to find the rhythm

Listening to a room full of three year olds singing (or trying to sing) The Hokey Pokey and Five Little Monkey’s is both hysterical and terrifying.

These little monsters are still learning their left from right (although to be fair, sometimes I struggle with that too) so I have to keep my expectations in check when they are singing along to anything. They like to either shout all the words, because they think that means they are singing faster; or they will whisper while doing the hand motions because they are focusing so hard on learning the “choreography”. There is a very very very small in between those two reactions.

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